Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins Trailed In Polls For Months Before Winning Reelection Against Democratic Challenger

(Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
Font Size:

Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins defeated her Democratic challenger Sara Gideon despite polls that showed the incumbent was trailing behind Gideon for months without gaining any lead. 

Gideon conceded the race Wednesday while she was 52,134 votes behind with 83% of the estimated vote reported, according to the Times. Gideon had been leading in numerous polls since February, suggesting her campaign was gaining traction in the state where Collins had held her seat since 1997. (RELATED: Republican Sen. Susan Collins Wins Reelection In Maine, Challenger Concedes The Race)

The polls appeared promising for Gideon, but proved to not accurately reflect what voter turnout would actually look like.

In the weeks before the election, for example, Pan Atlantic showed that Gideon had a 7 point lead over Collins between Oct. 2 and Oct. 6. Between Oct. 21 and Oct. 25, Colby showed a 4 point lead, and roughly a week later, Emerson showed Gideon with a 6 point lead. 

Collins’ position was perceived as precarious given her record as a moderate Republican who voted for President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaught to the Supreme Court, while representing a state that has supported Democrats in the last seven elections. Collins had kept her distance from Republican leaders and President Donald Trump, rarely mentioning any of them during her campaign.

Democrats had rallied around Gideon with enough financial backing to make history — Collins’ and Gideons’ races were the most expensive in state history, when combined. But Gideon outspent the incumbent senator by more than two times. 

Collins raised more than $26.5 million and spent over $23 million, while Gideon raised roughly $68.5 million and spent nearly $48 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics